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Fields, James Thomas (31 December 1817–24 April 1881), publisher, editor, writer, and lecturer, was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the son of Michael Fields, a sea captain, and Margaret Beck Fields. His father died at sea before James's fourth birthday, leaving his devoted mother little more than the modest house where she raised her two sons. A gregarious and book-loving boy, James completed high school at the age of thirteen, then headed for Boston. Although college was never an option, a family friend arranged what turned out to be the next best thing: an apprenticeship with the booksellers Carter and Hendee at what is still known as the Old Corner Bookstore. Remaining at that workplace after Carter and Hendee sold out to Allen and Ticknor in 1832, and after ...

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Sheed, Francis Joseph (20 March 1897–20 November 1981), Catholic street preacher and book publisher, was born in Sydney, Australia, the son of John Sheed, a draftsman, and Mary Maloney. Sheed’s family background prepared him for a lifetime of religious controversy. His father’s family were Scottish Presbyterians with a bitter animus against Roman Catholicism, while his father was a Marxist as well as a violently abusive alcoholic. His Irish mother, however, remained a devout Catholic all of her life and insisted that her son be baptized in the Roman church. For some inexplicable reason, his father insisted that the son attend Methodist Sunday school. This gave Frank a lifelong love for Wesleyan hymns and a very Protestant attraction to the person of Jesus. At the same time, it seems to have confirmed his Catholicism by driving it underground and giving it a whiff of martyrdom....